School safety experts agree that there is no perfect solution to preventing school violence, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The good news is that schools are actually getting much better at preventing violence, but the bad news is we will always have incidents that slip through the cracks because you are dealing with human behavior," said Kenneth Trump of National School Safety and Security Services in Cleveland. After last week's mass stabbings at Franklin Regional High School, there have been calls for metal detectors and increased physical security in schools and questions about how school violence continues in spite of security measures and better training. Most schools do not have metal detectors, and experts say they represent a simplistic fix that do not address a complex problem. "More than metal detectors, you need mental detectors," Trump said.
Physical security measures can only go so far if mental health supports are not in place to help students and teachers deal with the problems that are brought into the schools. "We are seeing a lot more kids in crisis and families with problems in the schools," Bethel Park school police Officer James Modrak said. "There are a lot more issues at home. More single-parent households. There's a lot of changes in morality and how we approach things." "One of the answers to preventing school violence lies in personal communication with school staff," said Bill Bond, a school safety specialist for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, who was the principal of Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., in 1997, when a 14-year-old boy shot and killed three students and injured five others. Heath High School did not have a metal detector at the time and still doesn't. Bond said the logic of a metal detector is that it will stop someone who is afraid of getting caught. But, he said, individuals planning mass attacks expect to get caught.
Attorney General Eric Holder is urging Congress to authorize $15 million for training state and local law enforcement...
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) is not convinced that Congress should scale back mandatory...
On the 25th anniversary of the first U.S. drug court, in Miami, West Huddleston of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals tells NPR that the nation's 3,000 drug courts have treated 1.3 million drug-addicted offenders. Research says drug courts can cut crime by as much as half compared to any other sentencing option, he says, saving the criminal justice system about $2.21 for every dollar invested.
Huddleston acknowledges who types of drug court critics: "really hard-core law enforcement types that believe that we should just keep punishing addicts," and others who contend that legalizing drugs would bypass the criminal justice system. Huddleston contends that the latter group is "not hinking through that argument very well. Drug courts are filled today - about 142,000 people a year who are there because of crimes related to their drug use, but not there because of a drug possession charge." He argues that "legalization would unfortunately enhance or increase the number of those types of crimes."
Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, writing in USA Today, sympathizes with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who refused to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" when the program said the names of the alleged bombers might be mentioned during the broadcast. Fox contends that "patently gratuitous are the countless photographs and videos of the two explosions and their immediate aftermath, highlighting mutilated limbs and terror-filled faces of stunned spectators" one year ago today.
Fox argues that television interviews asking Marathon viewers how they felt last April 15 "emphasize the wrong story, that of injury rather than recovery." It's much easier for media covering terrorism to show images like the collapse of the World Trade Center or students fleeing the rampage shooting at Colorado's Columbine High School, Fox says, rather than "complex tales of recovery and resilience [that] are more difficult to tell, particularly when audiences are easily distracted and drawn to negative news."
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is expected to sign an executive order significantly limiting collaboration between the police department and federal immigration authorities, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The order would preclude police from honoring detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement except in cases where a person is convicted of a first- or second-degree felony involving violence, and only when ICE secures a warrant to support the detainer.
ICE detainers or "holds" are requests by federal immigration authorities for police to hold a person who was detained for an alleged crime for up to an additional 48 hours. That would allow ICE to take the person - if suspected of being an undocumented immigrant or a noncitizen - into custody for possible deportation. Immigrant-rights advocates, who have worked for years to end ICE holds, hailed the expected order.
Nearly a year since police officers found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a suburban Boston backyard, hiding in a boat there, wounded by gunfire, he awaits a November trial on charges of taking part in the Boston Marathon bombing. He get many cards and letters in prison from backers who believe he is innocent, reports the New York Times. A federal court has given the two sides 19 months to prepare for a trial that the prosecution says could last three months.
Prosecutors argue that Tsarnaev poses a terrorist because he conspired to kill Americans, used Al Qaeda’s bomb-making instructions as a blueprint, shows no remorse and could have still-unknown conspirators awaiting a coded call to action. Ater his capture, “Tsarnaev reaffirmed his commitment to jihad and expressed hope that his actions would inspire others to engage in violent jihad,” the Justice Department stated in a court filing in August. Defense lawyers assert that prosecutors have offered no evidence that Tsarnaev is part of a foreign jihad network. The defense’s hiring of a mental health consultant may hint at an argument that he was mentally ill — and perhaps that he fell under the sway of his aggressive older brother, Tamerlan. Prosecutors have asked the defense to disclose whether it plans to present evidence at the trial that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had a mental ailment.
The U.S. Justice Department and Ohio officials have reached an agreement that will reduce the amount of time spent in isolation by young people in state juvenile correctional facilities, reports the Sandusky Register. Last month, federal officials filed a lawsuit asserting that youths are being held in seclusion for significant periods of time at four locations. “Numerous national studies have established that seclusion of youth with mental health disorders even for short periods of time can severely harm youth,” said the lawsuit. One youth was in seclusion for 19 days, and another for 21 days.
The suit asked a court to end the practice of putting youths in seclusion for long periods of time and to provide better mental health treatment. Erie County Juvenile Court Judge Robert DeLamatre said the number of youth in state juvenile correctional facilities had declined dramatically, from about 2,300 in 2001 to 500 today. Ongoing litigation over the state system probably made some judges more reluctant to send youth into the state system, he said. “Certainly the lawsuit brought a spotlight on conditions, and things in the department that may be a little invisible to [judges.] We don’t know on a day to day business how that youth is being treated,” he said.
Two sex offenders charged with raping and murdering four Los Angeles-area women were wearing GPS monitoring bracelets for having assaulted children when they allegedly committed the serial killings that began last fall, says USA Today. Steven Dean Gordon, 45, and Franc Cano, 27, are registered sex offenders on parole for sexual acts with children younger than 14. The two transients were arrested Friday near an Anaheim, Ca., trash-sorting facility where the naked body of 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found on a conveyor belt last month.
They were charged with raping and killing her and three other women living in Orange County, all of whom had been involved in prostitution. Police said they were "confident" there is a fifth victim and possibly more. Police said location data from the electronic monitors and the women's cellphone records have helped the investigation.
The Boston Globe was awarded a 2014 Pulitzer Prize today for its coverage of the bombings a year ago that killed three...